The Coronation of the New King
On the 6th of May 2023, King Charles III was crowned with the St Edward's Crown, the coronation of a new King will bring about a lot of change in the monarchy however, one thing hasn’t changed is the jewels that King Charles wore during his coronation.
The History of Crowns in British Coronations
Crowns have a long and fascinating history in British coronations, dating back to ancient times when they were worn by Celtic kings to symbolise their power and authority. As Britain's history evolved, so too did the role of crowns in the country's coronations.
In the Middle Ages, crowns took on a more elaborate and ornate appearance, often featuring precious gems and metals. They symbolised royal majesty, and their appearance at coronation ceremonies was meant to awe and inspire onlookers.
By the time of the Tudor dynasty, crowns had become essential to British coronations, with the monarch's crown representing the apex of their power. Today, the Crown Jewels, which include some of the most famous crowns in British history, are housed in the Tower of London and are open to the public for viewing, and have been seen once again worn by the next royal to take the throne; King Charles III.
The Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels, a timeless collection of beauty, extravagance, and history, reign supreme as one of the world's most remarkable treasures. This stunning collection encompasses a plethora of regalia, from crowns to sceptres, each with its own symbolic significance. The collection embodies the grandeur, power, and prestige of the monarchy, representing the sovereignty and authority of the British Crown. Each element of the Crown Jewels holds a symbolic meaning reflecting the royal family's traditions, customs, and values, a timeless and precious inheritance to be cherished for future generations.
(Image Source: NILS JORGENSEN/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)
The Crowns of King Charles III
The St. Edwards Crown
The St. Edwards crown is the most important of the Crown Jewels. It is only brought out of the Tower of London for coronations, after which it is placed back into its guarded resting place. More specifically, this crown will only be seen and worn by Charles briefly during the crowning moment inside Westminster Abbey. The crown is solid gold set with 444 stones. The symmetry in this specific amount makes one wonder if this number means more.
The crown has a very layered history, along with layers of precious gemstones. The crown we saw this past weekend was commissioned for Charles II, but it is a replica of a crown made for Edward the Confessor. The original crown survived until 1649, the end of the English Civil War and Charles I's reign. When King Charles II's reign began, the new St Edward's crown was born and has continued to be used in ceremonial functions for the past 17 monarchs, including Charles III.
The precious and semi-precious gemstones set in this crown are either step-cut or rose-cut mounted in enamelled gold collets. The gemstones set in St Edward's crown include 354 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topaz, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, amethyst, sapphire, peridot, zircon, garnet and spinel.
(Image Source: Royal Collection Trust/Getty Images)
The Imperial State Crown
The imperial state crown is the crown Charles exchanged with St. Edwards crown at the end of the coronation ceremony. This is the crown he wore in the procession back to Buckingham Palace. He will wear this crown for the annual State Opening of Parliament.
(Image Source: Hugo Burnand/Royal Household 2023, via Associated Press)
The imperial state crown is immaculately adorned with jewels. It is made of gold and set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies. The crown was initially created for King George VI in 1937 and is home to several of the most famous stones in British history. The design of the crown symbolises the values of England as a sovereign. The encasing arches demonstrate England's barricade to any other earthly power apart from their own, impenetrable to outside powers. The famous gems include the Black Prince's Ruby, the Cullinan II, St. Edward's Sapphire, and Stuart Sapphire. This regal crown was worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation and atop her casket during her funeral.
(Image Source: Leon Neal, Pool via REUTERS)
These two crowns worn during King Charles III's coronation, the St. Edward's Crown and the Imperial State Crown, hold immense historical and symbolic significance. These regal crowns embody the tradition, power, and sovereignty of the British monarchy, representing a rich legacy that has captivated people around the world for centuries.